The Cost Of Changing Brake Fluid Of A Car

by Carmen PickelJanuary 2, 2022
Changing Brake Fluid Of A Car

The amount of brake fluid you have should be sufficient at all times. Check out these symptoms of low brake fluid and what the cost of changing the brake fluid is. You cannot drive safely without your car's brakes.

Unfortunately, people often fail to pay attention to their brakes. They tend to think about the brake pads and brake rotors when thinking about them. Brake fluid plays an equally important role as brake oil when it comes to optimal conditions for braking. Without this component working in tandem with other brake components like the brake pads, rotors, and brake shoes, the car would be unable to slow down safely.

Let's begin by explaining why it is so important to have a good brake fluid system is so important. Our next step will be to explain when it is time to change the brake fluid in your vehicle!

Why Is Brake Fluid Important?

There is no open system in your car's braking system. As a result, nothing should leave or enter the system, so nothing should get out or enter the system at all. Because the braking system is a hydraulic fluid, this is an important consideration. As a basic explanation, when you apply pressure to a brake pedal, your foot is redistributing the brake fluid, thereby pressurizing and amplifying the initial force you apply to the pedal when you press down on it.

The replacement brake fluid needs to be in good condition and not contaminated. On the other hand, brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means it attracts water molecules from outside and is less likely to leak. The water percentage will take many months to increase, as it happens gradually (except if you leak). Still, eventually, it will start to increase over many months.

Since a large amount of heat is produced due to brake use, vehicle manufacturers ensure that the brake fluid is able to handle it. There is a risk of the boiling point of brake fluid decreasing if it is mixed with water, thus making the fluid less effective than brake fluid. This is why brake fluid is so important and must eventually be replaced at some point. Furthermore, a lubricant change will ensure that the brake lines and other brake system components can be protected from wear and tear.

When Should You Change The Brake Fluid?

There is a need for a brake flush before replacing the current brake fluid with fresh brake fluid. Different manufacturers have different recommendations as to when you should replace your brake fluid. Depending on your car and driving style, it may be necessary to change it every two years, but, in reality, it will vary based on the car and driver.

If your car is due for an oil change soon and you are going to check all the fluids, including the brake fluid, you should make it a habit to do so. It is sufficient to replace the brake fluid in most cars every three to five years, but you should keep an eye on it to ensure it is in good condition.

The transparent container that serves as a brake fluid reservoir can be used to check the amount of brake fluid. The color of the liquid should either be clear or have a yellow hue. You should replace it as soon as possible when it turns darker or black over time. It is very important to check the brake fluid level and the fluid's color regularly, but do not let the reservoir remain unsealed for too long because this may cause the fluid to be contaminated.

When it comes to changing the brake fluid, there is no exact rule that should be followed. The answer to this question depends on many factors, including your driving habits, the local climate, your car, and many more.

Signs And Symptoms Of Low Brake Fluid

Observing it simply is the best way to determine when to change your brake fluid. You can learn as much as you can about how it performs by simply observing it. It is also possible, however, that you will observe abnormal behavior from your brakes which would indicate that it is time to change the brake fluid in your brake system.

Although regular maintenance should prevent this problem from occurring, there may have been a leak in the system, causing noticeable side effects. Several symptoms may indicate that your brake fluid is bad, including:

  • The ABS light comes on when the vehicle is in motion
  • When you press the brake pedal, it indicates diminished brake performance
  • A reduction in stopping power during the braking process
  • An unpleasant odor can be detected

You should seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms or signs that may affect your braking ability. If you notice any of these signs on your car, you should pull over as soon as possible.

ABS Light Turns On

When there is insufficient brake fluid in the brake system, your ABS light will likely turn on as the system can't work properly when there is insufficient brake fluid in the system. The low brake fluid issue is not the only problem you may be experiencing, but it is one of the things to be aware of if your ABS light comes on.

Brake Pedal Behaves Differently

There may be a low brake fluid level or contaminated brake fluid resulting in a different feel to your brake pedal when you push down on it. If this is the case, press down on the pedal again. The problem can manifest itself in multiple ways, such as sponginess, bounciness, or looseness when applying pressure to the pedal when pressed down.

Loss Of Stopping Power

Having bad brake fluid is one of the most serious consequences because it will result in a loss of stopping power. When your car doesn't decelerate properly when you brake, it might result from a lack of brake fluid in the system. There are two ways that this problem can originate: either abruptly or by becoming progressively worse over some time. If you notice that this problem is occurring, you need to address it as soon as possible. It does not matter how it happens.

Bad Smell

There can be several symptoms associated with a bad smell, but it can also be a very serious one. Some factors could contribute to the smell, including your brake fluid, which could be the cause. Contaminated brake fluid has a lower boiling point than clean brake fluid, which can start boiling as soon as you use the brakes again since the fluid has a lower boiling point. As a result, you will notice a strong chemical odor or a burning smell in most cases.

How Much Does It Cost To Change Brake Fluid?

It is expected that most of the costs involved with replacing brake fluid with clean fluid will result from labor costs. DOT 4 brake fluid will be used in most cars, while DOT 3 brake fluid will be used in the minority of cars. The manufacturer of your car will usually specify which brake fluid is best for your particular car model so you can make sure you use the right one for your vehicle.

There is no need to worry about the cost of brake fluid. The cost of 32 oz of brake fluid should be in the range of $5. Ideally, it is best to leave the installation of brake fluid in the hands of a trained mechanic if you intend to replace it. You can expect to pay between $80 and $130 for labor depending on the state, but the cost can vary from state to state.

Bleeding Or Flushing The Brakes

People often use the term "flushing the brakes" interchangeably with the term "bleeding the brakes." There is, however, a difference between the two. Usually, when a brake system needs to be bled, the system's air must be removed. Most people won't need to do this unless they take their cars to the track. Flushing out the brakes is always the best approach. To maintain the brake system, new fluid is poured into the system, which is the best option.

There is a difference between bleeding the brakes and flushing them. The whole brake system is flushed with new brake fluid when the brake fluid is flushed. When you bleed your brakes, you remove only the air bubbles in the system, unlike during a brake fluid flush. It will still be necessary to replace the fluid as a whole at some point.

Unless you drive your car on the track, you should stick with flushing the brakes only when necessary unless your driving habits are out of the ordinary. It is best to hire professional mechanics when you need to get such tasks done.


When brake fluid shows signs of wearing out, it should be replaced. Not all brake fluid changes cause the associated symptoms. It is important to check the brake fluid level regularly. Check all fluids once if your car is due for an oil change. A yellow hue should be present in brake fluid. Replace it as soon as possible if it's black or very dark. 

In closed systems, brake fluid attracts water molecules from the surroundings. Consequently, the fluid's boiling point will be lowered, and its effectiveness will be reduced. A bad fluid may cause symptoms and signs such as the ABS light illuminating, abnormal pedal feel, and bad smell. Replacement of brake fluid does not follow a universal rule. Several factors, including driving habits and the climate, impact the quality of the fluid.

DOT 4 and DOT 3 are the most common types of brake fluid in cars today. Most people use DOT 4. Your car manufacturer specifies what type of fluid you should use. It costs about $80 to $130 to change brake fluid and should be done by an experienced mechanic.

Have you ever wondered how cars work and how they are maintained? Visit KeepDriving to learn more about car insurance for a Mini Cooper.

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